Monday, September 27, 2010

World University Games

I had the honor of being chosen to represent the United States at the World University Games in Valencia, Spain. This would be my first trip to Europe and although I was only going for a few days I was extremely excited to go to Spain. My brother spent a semester abroad in Barcelona so after hearing stories from him about Spain I couldn’t wait to be there myself. The trip over was really long but pretty uneventful. I had the advice to not sleep when I arrived in Spain regardless of how tired I was which worked out well. When we arrived we had to go through the process of getting badges for the race. This turned out to be an ongoing problem for our team and our coach Steve Kelly took it all in stride. We didn’t get to see much of him during the trip mainly because he was dealing with making sure we were all credentialed (the ITU makes everything easy right?). The hotel that we stayed in was basically an apartment. We had a few rooms, a kitchen (which Dustin McClarty, Chris Stehula, and I used to make amazing breakfasts), and an amazing ocean view. Chris had arrived to Valencia a day before the rest of us and he had toured the city around on his bike. I had really wanted to see some sights while I was there and Chris took Dustin and I out on our bikes and we rode around the city of Valencia for a few hours. It was pretty surreal riding around on our bikes with race wheels through the streets of Valencia and this was probably the highlight of my trip. The architecture is amazing and there are two very different parts of the city. The very old part with cathedrals and old beautiful buildings and then a really modern part of the city where they have museums and such. We would visit this area again for the post race and to this day is definitely the coolest place I have every partied in. More on that to come. Our race was in the middle of the day and happened to be on the hottest day. The days leading up to the race were very mild and not humid. That quickly changed on the race day. I do not typically do well in heat so I was less than thrilled about our mid day start time. That and the fact that the water temperature was I believe 70 and they made it wetsuit legal (not sure how that fits in the rules). So the course had a really long run out into the water and we did that twice and then also had about a half mile run to the transition area. So with all the running in the swimming we all came out in one large pack. We had talked about race strategy as a team before this race. We had decided that we were in a unique opportunity to represent the USA as a team, something that is not typically done in triathlon. Our best runner, Greg Billington, had a good swim and was in the large bike pack that game out of transition. We thought that with our swimming background Dustin and I would be off the front out of the water and we would hammer the bike to try to go into the run with a lead but since this didn’t work out we were there to work for Greg. I wanted to make sure that the bike pack stayed together so that Greg would have the best chance to outrun everyone. I basically just sat at the front of the pack and chased down any breaks. It was pretty fun doing this and I was getting yelled at by other competitors who were trying to work as a team to make a break on the bike. All in good fun, except that while I was doing this I forgot to eat and drink on the bike. A mistake that would later destroy me on the run. The bike group came into T2 all in one piece and we were off on the run. I completely blew up on the run from my lack of hydration and the effort I was putting in on the bike but Greg was able to run his way to a 5th place finish. It was really fun to be part of a team in a race and was something that I had not been able to do before. After the race we immediately went to a beachfront restaurant for some Spanish beer to celebrate the race (and also Greg’s 21st birthday). The post race awards were a the really modern part of the city and it was really fun to celebrate the games with all the other competitors from all over the world. I was truly honored to be picked for this team and has definitely been one of the most memorable trips of my life.

No comments:

Post a Comment